Teams of different nationality duelled admirably to win their respective divisions in the Singa Cup 2012.
The first final of the day involved the girls Under 18 (U18) division, with Australian team Football West Australia triumphing over local side JSSL Arsenal Soccer School.
The girls from JSSL Arsenal Soccer School were looking to avenge their narrow loss 1-0 to the Australian side on the first day of the tournament, but went down in the first-half to a penalty by 14-year-old Siobhan Longmore, who had joined the U18 squad as there were no other female age-categories.
JSSL Arsenal side came out blazing in the second-half, and were immediately rewarded after a succession of corners resulted in Puti Lee pouncing on a loose ball and slotting it past the goalkeeper to draw the game.
However, Longmore had other plans, and replied straightaway with a cool finish at the other end after a long through ball found her.
Longmore then earned her hat trick after a cross-shot from the left flank was fumbled into goal, before Keeley Milner scored West Australia’s fourth to secure the result and title.
The best match of the day iarguably was the Under 12 (U12) boys final, where potential Indonesian football stars of the future from Imran Soccer Academy and Javan Hawk Academy played out a breath-taking game.
Two minutes into the game, Imran Soccer Academy's Mohammad Dyan Aulia scored a superb free-kick from 25 metres out, with the ball lobbed nicely into the top left corner of the goal. Shortly after, Aria Bisma Bagaskara made it 2-0 for Imran.
However, credit to Javan Hawk Academy, the young boys did not let their heads fall, and showed deft touches to play their way out of trouble, and into goal scoring chances.
Ramadhani Syhan Putra gave Javan Hawk a glimmer of hope with a goal in the 21st minute, as the side went into the break trailing by a goal.
However, it proved to be the catalyst for an amazing comeback. Right after the start of the second-half, Javan Hawk’s Mustafa headed in their equaliser after a cross from Geo Revo.
Javan Hawk then went on to take the lead with Ammarsyahi Alhayandi Hamid quickest to react to a loose ball, bundling it over the line.
Five minutes from time, Revo scored Javan Hawk’s fourth to kill off Imran Academy’s hopes, and be winner of the U12 boys category.
The Under 14 (U14) finals also saw two Indonesian sides duelling to be champions of their category, as Javan Hawk Academy U14 matched up against SSB Bontang.
This match was touted to be the highlight of the day, as free-scoring SSB Bontang had scored 37 goals en-route to the finals, while Javan Hawk averaged two goals per game.
It seemed that the spectators would not be disappointed with SSB Bontang’s Sandi scoring in the first minute of the game.
However, the promised goal fest did not arrive, as both sided struggled to put away their chances, and SSB Bontang defended stoutly to win the game 1-0, along with the U14 title, sparking wild celebrations by SSB Bontang’s bench players and supporters at the final whistle.
For the last final of the day, local side German European School went up against Thailand’s Youth Football Home Phuket for the boys Under 18 (U18) title in the pouring rain.
German European School were the underdogs as they were previously trounced 4-0 by Youth Football Home Phuket in the group stages.
Furthermore, German European School had played against local side Real Diablos Rojos earlier in the day to qualify for the finals, while Youth Football had a day to rest, raising questions over the players’ fitness levels.
However, German European School appeared to have been galvanised by their 9-1 win over Real Diablos Rojos, and were holding the Thailand side at bay, before scoring with a header by Lucas Jester three minutes before the break to go 1-0 up.
Things went from bad to worse for Youth Football when Uros Milosevic scored a free kick in the 28th minute to double his side’s lead.
Narachai Temrum briefly lifted up Youth Football’s hopes by volleying a screamer from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 in the 42nd minute, only for Milosevic to strike again two minutes later to make it 3-1 and maintain German European School’s two goal advantage.
Jan Schatermann added a fourth one minute from time, making the scoreline seem unfair on the hard working Youth Football team.
Players involved in the tournament were impressed with the level of football played, and felt that participating in the Singa Cup 2012 had helped their football development.
“Their [JSSL Arsenal Soccer School] defence side was really really tough, I was really struggling to get past them and their attacks are really good too,” said Football West Australian Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player winner Longmore.
“Good, it’s been really good, it’s been a really good experience playing with other people as well.
"I get to play international and that’s good.”
Football development aside, parents and coaches believed that participants are enriched in their knowledge of the world, especially those who lack such opportunities to travel out of their country.
“It was good for the kids, it was very enjoyable, they see different cultures, meet different people, and they make new friends,” Said John Palmer, who travelled with another 20 adults from Western Australia to Singapore to accompany and support their children who were participating in the tournament.
“For us this is much more than football, because we are from an orphanage, and it’s about travelling, [experiencing] other cultures, other people, other countries. We take it (football) seriously, but it is not the most important thing,”said Hannu Tuukkanen, manager of Youth Football Home Phuket.